Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

How women are leading the way to peace and reconciliation.

[L-R] Harriet Baka Nathan & Joy Kwaje Eluzai
Photo Credit: ACNS

Originally Posted on: March 16, 2017 3:28 PM by Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

Related Categories on ACNS: apjn, iawn, Other News, South Sudan, Sudan, UN, UNCSW

Begin quoteKey Anglican campaigners for peace and justice in war-torn South Sudan have told a meeting at the United Nations in New York about the vital role women and the church have been playing in peace building and supporting the victims of conflict.

Harriet Baka Nathan, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Mothers’ Union, and Joy Kwaje Eluzai, a member of the country’s national assembly, were speaking to a packed meeting at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Women have become an example to the community,” Harriet told them. “The church has become a role model as we wait for a bigger peace – reconciliation. The women never waited, the Mothers’ Union never waited, the Church never waited. We are donors of ourselves – when the conflict comes, we call a meeting and we give whatever we have.”

Harriet described how the conflict had devastated the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The absence of people to work the land had led to widespread hunger and now there was a famine. She told the meeting how on one occasion, she had been part of a convoy taking aid to displaced people who had fled into the bush.

“God gave me courage to escort 25 tons (of aid) into a camp which was in the bush. This was very dangerous – I could have been raped or killed. But I did not have that fear at all because I was dressed with a spirit of boldness.

“She described how extreme hunger had left many women in the camp bedridden. But once a distribution centre was set up, the atmosphere began to change.

“In a short time there was smoke (around the camp) – people began to make porridge on small fires. Hope came back and then life came back.”

Harriet gave the meeting snapshots of various projects where women were working to bring peace to South Sudan.  She said they had initially been left out of negotiations but were now monitoring the implementation of peace agreements and lobbying hard for the agreements to be honoured.

In one example, she explained the vital role women had played in the diocese of Bor, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting. She had realised that bringing peace – and food – among the women would be a uniting factor.

“Because once you unite the women… where are the husbands who will not follow their wives and their children?  So as the women (from different tribes) got united – their families began to benefit and slowly these fighting men, who were not coming together, slowly they came in too.

“So the project provided food and united these fighting tribes. Now Bor is a role model for the Church. It has really created hope and it has created peace.”

Harriet also described how thousands of women had benefited from projects in literacy, numeracy and income generation and how better education had given them confidence to participate more fully in society. She said they felt inspired and economically empowered.

She thanked Christians around the world for their ongoing support.

“We are not alone with the Anglican Communion behind us,” she said. “If we were all alone, I don’t think we could make it”.Joy Kwaje Eluzai urged the audience to do more.“We are looking for shoulders to help us,” she said. “How can we reach your governments to make sure that peace is reached in South Sudan? How do we get your support and your strength to tell your governments that we are tired of the war?”

Noting that the theme of UNCSW61 is the economic empowerment of women, she said this had been eroded by the conflict in South Sudan. But she said the country had the desire, energy and the capacity to achieve the goals that had been set out by the UNCSW on the opening day.“t is only with peace that we can put the economic empowerment of women into perspective,” she said. “Economic empowerment of women benefits society. If a woman is empowered, that family is empowered…  and her children will never go uneducated.”

The meeting had to be hastily rescheduled by the Anglican Communion team at the UN after a snowstorm hit New York. The UN building was one of many in the city which was forced to stay closed because of the bad weather. Transport was also badly hit. But despite the difficulties, around 60 delegates attended the briefing by Harriet and Joy.

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Source: Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

Against the brutal urge

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As day dawns in California details continue to emerge about the brutality of yet another mass shooting in our nation. The lament that this is becoming too “normal” is gaining volume. When will our leaders hear the lament?

Prayers multiply. Action to reign in gun violence by gun control has yet to reach the ‘tipping point’ and yet it is the hope and the work of many more each day: to be the voice, to join the work, that begins to control the proliferation of arms in our neighborhoods and communities; it is the further hope of many to be the voice and join the work of nurturing dignity, respect, and peace in our neighborhoods and communities.

How about you, what do you hear? What is the movement of the Spirit within you?

Here is one Pastor’s Response:

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

Against the brutal urge
only a mass of gentle people
will be effective.

Against the deep night
which is not bottomless after all
only light will bring release.

Read the entire post on Unfolding Light, the blog of Pastor Steve Garnaas-Holmes. And, listen for the Spirit.

South African Anglicans respond to Archbishop Deng’s Challenge

On October 5th we shared the ACNS reporting of Archbishop Deng’s challenge to the Church. He was speaking to Anglicans in South Africa (and to all women and men of goodwill). The Church in South Africa has responded.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Anglican Church in Southern Africa has committed itself to form a partnership with the Episcopal Church in Sudan, with which it shares membership of the Anglican Communion.

The commitment to pursue a ‘partners in mission’ relationship was made by the church’s Provincial Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, South Africa. I

t came in response to the address given by the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, who has been a guest of the Provincial Synod, and of the Synod of Bishops which preceded it.

Read the report shared by AllAfrica.com on 10/7/13

A challenge from Sudan

On Sunday (10/6) we will take a closer look at 2 Timothy 1:1-14 (the lesson appointed for worship). Among other things we’ll hear, anew, the Apostle’s exhortation: “rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (vv. 6-7 NRSV). Overall this letter exhorts Timothy (and us) to continue to trust the God who has called us and blessed us and sent us into the world to share God’s love.
In the midst of this study comes this challenge from the Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ministries exist in both Sudan and South Sudan). It is a reminder that being Christian is not always easy and that trusting God is not always easy and that prayer needs to be concurrent with action.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak has challenged the worldwide Anglican Communion to actively help the war-affected people of South Sudan.

He was speaking in an exclusive interview with ACNS in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is attending the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Provincial Synod as special guest.

The Primate complained that the Anglican Church in South Sudan felt it was struggling alone and not receiving adequate support from other Member Churches. “People are just saying we are supporting you in prayers, but prayers must be followed by action.

“We need good education and health and there are a lot of experienced people within the Anglican Communion who can come and help us,” he said. “We need missionaries to come and set up schools and health centres in South Sudan. There is a lot that Anglicans can do to help.” (Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS)

Read the complete report of the Archbishop’s Challenge.

Let us add this to our Sunday discussion. Come and join us on Sunday (10/6/13) if you are able.

Recreated by Christ’s love

The cross in the church of San DamianoWhere did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross …

Today, October 4th, the Church remembers Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis traveled to Assisi and celebrated the Eucharist with thousands. His homily, at least the prepared text ( we know he often ad libs), is available for our consideration.

The Pope asks, “What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough – but by his life?” He sets before us three answers beginning with:

His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him. […]

On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts. The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death.

He proceeds to offer two other answers:

… the second witness that Francis gives us: that everyone who follows Christ receives true peace, the peace that Christ alone can give, a peace which the world cannot give.

… [third] Saint Francis of Assisi bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created, and that men and women are called to safeguard and protect, but above all he bears witness to respect and love for every human being.

Read the text of his homily. Understand the Pope’s prayers for us. I also encourage you to be attentive to reports of his ad lib comments and find trusted commentators (like Fr. James Martin, SJ, or the writers on Religion News Service or the folks at America Magazine) who have access to even more information and anecdotal material.

Wind Chimes: 3 September 2013

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Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I light my prayer candle today for those who seek to ‘wage peace.’ Join me in helping the peacemakers in this and every nation, especially in Syria, have the “courage to will and persevere” in their efforts and be acclaimed “blessed” by God and by their neighbors (you and me). ~daniel rondeau

DivLine360x12“Blessed are the peacemakers,” “they are children of God,”
this is the song of the chimes today.
What do you hear?

The prayer, “Attributed to St. Francis,” may be found in the (Episcopal) Book of Common Prayer on page 833.

Prayer for Memorial Day

Let us pray together in remembrance and thanksgiving and make our prayers of dedication to Peace heartfelt …

Dating God

“God of peace and love, throughout this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember those who have died in war or who have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and moral injury, sometimes ending in their taking their own life through suicide. Let us pray and act with the cry “War No More”, and until we reach that day, empower us to work to avoid war. Let us help U.S. soldiers whose consciences are awakened to the moral depravity of war to be able to act on their individual conscience without having to suffer the price that Blessed Franz paid. We ask all this through Jesus, who gave us his peace so that we may be people of peace. Amen” (from Pax Christi USA)

Photo: Stock

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